April retail sales in Spain fell 9.8 percent versus a year ago as the country battled high unemployment and its second recession in three years. It was the 22nd straight monthly retail sales decline.
The central Bank of Spain says the economy shrank 0.3 percent in the first quarter. It predicts the trend to continue at least through June, for a total contraction of 1.7 percent in 2012. Three regional savings banks said Tuesday that they were considering combining. That news came just days after Bankia, the nationalized lender, said it would need a massive bailout.